What is the average shelf life of a bay leaf? How long do bay leaves last in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? What is the best way to store bay leaves to increase their shelf life? Find out the answers to these questions and more below:
Shelf Life of a Bay Leaf
|Pantry||Up to 7 Days||2-3 Years||2-3 Years||3-4 Years|
You can use dry fresh bay leaves around the year without any issue. If you want to extend their shelf life, then place them in an airtight jar or container. You can use dried bay leaves in all kinds of broths and stocks. As these leaves are dull green, they don’t go bad at all. However, with the passage of time, they might lose the strength in their flavor. Most of the times, if you are not getting the right flavor then don’t use such leaves. Storage of your food is always a key. You need to place them in a plastic bag and keep them refrigerated. It will substantially extend their lifespan.
Purchasing Bay Leaves
Bay leaves come in three different types. You can purchase fresh bay leaves or freshly dried bay leaves or old and dry bay leaves. Fresh leaves don’t have much smell and taste either. But if you use them in your recipes there is a slight wholeness that adds to the flavor but goes unnoticed until you compare them. On the other hand, freshly dried bay leaves are the most common leaves used in recipes because they have a very distinct smell that adds to the flavor. If you are using very old dried bay leaves, then they are not going to make much difference in the taste of your recipe unless you are very good at picking the slightest of differences.
Storing Bay Leaves
The storing method of bay leaves is very similar to any other herb. Always ensure that you place your bay leaves within a glass container or jar. They won’t go bad, but over time they will lose their flavor. If you are not able to extract any flavor from them in your recipe then they there is no point of using or keeping such bay leaves. Make sure that you store leave in a cold, dry and dark place. Storing them in a glass container that comes with an air-tight lid is the best treatment you can give to these leaves to preserve their flavor for a long time to come.
Handling Bay Leaves
If you are not sure that your bay leaves have lost their aroma or not, take a couple of leaves and break them, if they do not release any fragrance then you don’t have to use them. You can add a few dried leaves in your steamer basket when you are cooking your rice or vegetables or even fish, and the leaves will do a great job to impart a subtle flavoring and aroma to your food.
Cooking Bay Leaves
There is no special technique to use bay leaves in your food. You can add them before steaming your food and always use the freshly dried bay leaves for this purpose. They will give an unknown fulfillment to the flavoring of your dish. Make sure to use them with other herbs such as sage, thyme or basil and these herbs together will work wonders.